“Those who use the sword will die by the sword.”
This is what Jesus Christ told Peter after he cut off the ear of the high priests’ slave. The principle taught is that violence is likely to be returned with violence. What I would say to anyone who believes that the use of violence within other countries will solve America’s issues is as follows: those who use the bomb will die by the bomb.
Recently, the Trump administration made the call to assassinate two foreign leaders. A minivan and sedan leaving the Baghdad airport were struck by four drone missiles. There is no doubt that Qassem Soliemani, who was a high-ranking Iranian military official, and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, who was the head of Iraq’s Kataib Hezbollah militia group, were in those cars, reported NBC news.
“It was very clear, Qassem Soleimani himself was plotting a broad large scale attack against American interests, and those attacks were imminent,” said U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo during a press conference.
No clear evidence of these attacks or their plans was presented. In fact, Pompeo made no mention of the attacks when he later spoke to Stanford University students at The Hoover Institution.
“President Trump and those of us in his national Security Team are re-establishing deterrents,” Pompeo said.
Pompeo seems to be making the case that to deter the threat of possible future attacks, the U.S. should assassinate high-ranking military officials from other countries.
Iraqi leaders were not happy with this unapproved drone strike on their soil. Shortly afterward, the Iraqi parliament passed a non-binding resolution to expel all U.S. troops from the region. About 5,000 U.S. troops are currently in Iraq, the Wall Street Journal reported.
The killing of Soleimani is an example of unnecessary American intervention in Middle Eastern affairs, but it is merely a symptom.
American government actions that tend to receive high levels of press coverage, such as the killing of Soleimani, are not without context. These interventions are the continuation of over 30 years of American foreign policy.
The U.S. has made a habit of using military violence. According to data from the Council on Foreign Relations, the United States dropped at least 26,172 bombs in seven countries in 2016, the bulk of them in Iraq and Syria. During former President Obama’s tenure, from drone strikes alone, a minimum of 380 civilian casualties took place in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and Libya, according to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism.
According to Scott Horton, an American historian and attorney, there have been three wars in Iraq, starting with Iraq War 1 in 1991.
Over 5,000 U.S. troops remain in Iraq, fighting against what remains of ISIS. Horton describes this as Iraq war III ½, which occurred from December 2017 to January 2020. Horton claims, “the ‘mopping-up’ war against the remnants of ISIS, has had the U.S. still allied with the very same Shi’ite militias they fought Iraq War II and III for, but are now attacking.”
The U.S. often makes a habit of changing sides in these wars and arming rebel groups—whom they end up fighting against later when the rebel groups become more powerful terrorist groups.
Back in 1959, the U.S. was involved in Iranian affairs when it backed a coup of the Iranian government.
“The Shah quickly returned to take power and, as thanks for the American help, signed over 40% of Iran’s oil fields to U.S. companies,” the History Channel reported.
The use of violence and regime change throughout the Middle East has caused increased destabilization along with hundreds of inexcusable civilian casualties. The killing of Soleimani is an extension of an interventionist foreign policy with no end in sight. We should judge our own actions by the same standards we would judge others by. We must question what would be our response if one of our highest ranking generals was assassinated by another nation or one of another countries’ high-ranking officials was bombed in our country without our foreknowledge.